The Kenya Sex Workers Alliance is committed to examining the strengths and weaknesses of international human rights and domestic legal frameworks as they apply to sex work. The aim is to evaluate the impact of various international and domestic laws and policies on the human rights of female, male and transgender sex workers and their communities.
Sex workers universally claim that their human rights are abused. In some cases this means exposure to violence and barriers to accessing services, resources and justice. In other cases they encounter arbitrary detention, criminal law and lack of access to clean and safe places to live and work in. As such, KESWA has taken on the mandate to:
- Strengthen the nascent sex worker groups and coalitions at the local, national and regional level.
- Strengthen relations with the mainstream human rights and women’s movements, progressive faith-based organizations and HIV/AIDS service providers in the region, and to encourage them to take up sex worker rights and needs.
- Explore ways of protecting sex workers human right defenders (paying particular attention to keeping activists in the region and strengthening them as activists during times of exile).
- Explore ways of remedying sex worker related violations, including public interest litigation as a strategy – when and how best to use it.
- Put sex worker health issues on the agenda of groups working in the heath field, particularly – but not exclusively – HIV and AIDS.
- Generate public discussion about sex workers issues and to engage with popular culture to challenge irrational hatred and fear of sex workers in order to promote a more progressive public discourse in the region on sexuality and sexual rights, particularly relating to the media, sports, theatre, poetry, film festivals, etc.
- Develop the role of and support for intermediaries, and how they might best support the sex workers sector in East Africa.
The strategy is guided by a set of overarching principles that are based on global guidelines and best practices:
- Political and Institutional commitment: Strong political leadership and commitment at all levels, especially at the highest level are integral to an effective and sustained response. This also includes leadership to mobilize and manage human, financial and organizational resources in an effective, transparent and accountable manner.
- Evidence based planning: The implementation of KESWA strategy will be guided by available evidence and will include activities to improve the amount and quality of strategic information for decision making at all levels to ensure effective planning and allocation of resources where they are most needed.
- Meaningful participation and inclusion: The active and meaningful involvement of all stakeholders is necessary to ensure all objectives of the strategy can be achieved and will contribute to the national response.